Feeling good, doing good
Last week I spoke about my birthday fundraiser for the South African Depression and Anxiety Group. Well, my friends really “came to the party” – literally and figuratively. We raised R7161 – which was just amazing!
Here is the speech I wrote for the evening, honouring a very special person, who will have left us exactly a year ago on the 6th of February 2017:
“Last year I was on Facebook and saw that a person very close to me was in crisis. I didn’t know the extent of this crisis, but we communicated and I told her how much she was loved and that things would get better soon. She thanked me and that was the last time we spoke.
In a few days she would be gone. And she took her life in the most dreadful way possible, hurting her family in unspeakable ways. But unlike many people around her – I didn’t think of her as selfish – I thought of her as desperate.
When I flew to Joburg for her funeral, what struck me was how her entire lifetime was being judged by this one terrible act. Hardly spoke of her incredible generosity and softness. Her smile. The fact that without fail she remembered our birthdays, children’s birthdays and wedding anniversaries.
Tomorrow [29th January] will be the first day she does not send me a message to wish Dave and me on our 17th year of marriage.
As you will all know now, and may have known before, I am a huge advocate for mental health and mental health awareness. This is not only because like a cancer it’s stalked out the genes of many of my family members but also because I think if people were more aware of depression, anxiety, bipolarity, PTSD, trauma and other issues, they would be less afraid of them.
There are so many treatments available. And one of the biggest ones, I feel, is being able to talk more openly about these issues. Maybe some of you here might agree?
So tonight, while you are all here to celebrate my birthday month, I would like to say that you are bringing me am irreplaceable gift. A gift of happiness. One that I can’t pass on. Because the South African Depression and Anxiety Group does amazing work in all the avenues I’ve mentioned and more. But last year, they were battling to pay their phone bills.
Your contributions will really help people who cannot afford counselling or assistance during a truly black time in their lives. And as many of us know, these black times don’t have to last forever.
So thank you all for coming and not thinking I’m completely bonkers – even though I am just a little nuts and proud of it. It helps my characters come alive.
And thank you to my lovely husband Dave for putting up with this weirdness, even though he’d probably prefer to support the SPCA or Save the Rhino. And to my boys and Bina for their help.
Just in closing, a quote from author Wayne Gerard Trotman:
Imagine how many suicide victims would still be with us, if only the right person said the right thing at the right time.”
I can’t save my friend but I hope our gift can save somebody else.”
I’m happy to say that the money the party raised is going to a programme SADAG is working on for educating people on teen suicide prevention.
And if that isn’t a worthy cause, then what is?